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Smart diaper generates power from urine

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Ritsumeikan University has developed a “wireless involuntary urination sensor system,” which notifies the user of the timing of replacing a paper diaper via wireless communication without using a battery.

The university expects that it will be used at nursing facilities that care patients of urinary incontinence. It demonstrated the system for mass media.

The system carries out wireless communication by using electricity generated by using urine. The amount of urine stored in the diaper is estimated from the interval of signal reception, and the user is notified of the optimal timing of replacing a diaper.

The system does not require a battery for wireless communication, and the paper diaper incorporating electrodes is disposable. The electronic circuit part (for wireless communication) called “sensor” is expected to be repeatedly used.

The system was developed by Takakuni Douseki, who researches micro energy harvesting, etc as a professor at the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, Ritsumeikan University. For the demonstration, a commercially-available paper diaper for infants was modified. It contains (1) activated carbon that is 320mm in length and 5mm in width and (2) an aluminum electrode whose width is 1.8mm between absorbent and a waterproof sheet.

The current of electricity generated by the system increases as the amount of input urine increases. Also, at the time of pouring in urine, the current rapidly increases.

“I believe that the difference in current is caused by urine soaking into the fine pores of the activated carbon, realizing a high sensitivity,” Douseki said.

Electricity generated from urine is stored in a capacitor in the sensor. When the amount of urine reaches a certain level, the system transmits wireless signals. The number of involuntary urinations and the amount of urine can be estimated because (1) the interval of signal reception shortens in accordance with the amount of input urine and (2) the interval shortens especially at the time of pouring in urine.


Diaper Sensor Lets You Know Baby Needs Changing

Diaper Sensor Lets You Know Baby Needs Changing Science & Technology World Website

 

A disposable organic sensor that can be embedded in a diaper and wirelessly let a carer know it needs changing was unveiled by Japanese researchers on Monday.

The flexible integrated circuit printed on a single plastic film transmits information and receives its power wirelessly, and could potentially be manufactured for a few yen (US cents), the developers told AFP.

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The system, which uses organic materials that can be printed with inkjet technology, was developed by a team led by professors Takayasu Sakurai and Takao Someya at the University of Tokyo.

In addition to use in infants' diapers, the technology can be applied to adult nappies, which are a big-seller in rapidly aging Japan.

Regular diapers change color to indicate they are wet, but a care-giver still needs to take off the wearer's clothes to see.

"If sensing is done electronically, you can tell simply by coming close to the wearer -- without unclothing him or her," Someya said.

The technology could also be put directly on the skin like a plaster, in place of often ring-shaped devices currently used in hospitals to monitor pulse and blood oxygen levels, he said.

Healthcare sensors often use silicon and other relatively rigid materials that can cause their users discomfort.

The flexibility of a single sheet of plastic film reduces discomfort for wearers and means it can be applied to a larger number of places -- offering greater potential for doctors or carers to monitor well-being.

The prototype system that has been developed is capable of monitoring wetness, pressure, temperature and other phenomena that cause a change in electrical resistance, said Someya, but the team would like to refine it to reduce its power consumption before it goes into widespread use.

Currently the data-reading device needs to be a few centimeters (inches) from the sensor, but Someya said the team was exploring how practical this is and whether they can boost the distance.

Researchers are to unveil their work at an academic gathering now under way in San Francisco.


Ubbi Diaper Pail Is Your Best Bet for Cleaning Up Stinky Situations

 

Diaper duty doesn't have to be so dangerous anymore.

The Ubbi Diaper Pail is about as high-tech as it gets when it comes to the dirty job of changing your baby's diaper.

Made out of powder-coated steel, the Ubbi stands out from the plastic of most other pails. This might not seem like a big deal at first, but consider that plastic absorbs odor and metaldoesn't.

Another neat feature is that the Ubbi is compatible with any garbage bag in your house. That's not the case with the Diaper Genie or Munchkin's Arm and Hammer Diaper Pail, which require specially fitted bags that can get pricey. The bags cost around $30 for a pack of three, and you'll go through them in six months or less; this means you would end up spending more on bag refills for the entirety of your baby's diapering life than you would on the Ubbi Pail itself, which costs $79.

If you prefer cloth diapers, the Ubbi also provides the option of purchasing a cloth-diaper liner for $15.

It also has a lock on the top, so your little one can't find their way in. However, only the diaper-disposal port locks, so kids can still lift the lid. While that section doesn't contain anything messy, it would still be nice if the entire pail locked. What's more, the childproof lock was a bit difficult for even adults to manage, so you may have to wrestle with it a bit.

This pail comes in a variety of colors, including hot pink and pistachio, so you can have fun matching it to your home decor.

All in all, the Ubbi is a great parenting hack for those of you looking for a way to clean up the dirty business of dirty diapers.

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